On October 28, 1237, Berlin’s historic center, then known as Cölln, received its first mention in recorded history, and from this birth certificate of specious origin, Berlin has adopted this date as its official birthday. The “poor but sexy” city therefore turns 775 this year, and has decided to make a show of it!
You can imagine that its last major birthday celebrations – 700 in 1937 and 750 in 1987 – were shadowed by the spectres of the Nazi regime and Cold War division, respectively, so maybe you’ll cut the city a little slack for choosing to throw a party 25 years too soon!
Here are some of the events, running now until the end of October:
Historic Cölln – encompassing today’s Nikolaiviertel near Alexanderplatz – is on display, with open-air exhibitions of sites excavated in front of City Hall and in the building of the new U5 subway line. Look here for outdoor markers explaining the significance of the area as well as its historic layout, placing the monuments still standing today in their original context.
Berlin celebrates the city’s diversity at Schlossplatz, near the Berliner Dom, where a giant walkable city map is on display. The colorful exhibit invites you to learn more about the role immigration has played in the German capital and is eye-catching by day or night.
The night of October 28th is the culmination of all events. Cölln will be lit up with fire installations, designed by French fire “poets,” Carabosse. Nearby, street artists from the German group Titanick will perform – don’t be surprised if it gets a little wet!